With more musicians playing full albums cover to cover, Van Morrison is going to take the plunge with his seminal 1968 “Astral Weeks” on...

With more musicians playing full albums cover to cover, Van Morrison is going to take the plunge with his seminal 1968 “Astral Weeks” on November 7-8 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA. The Astral Weeks Live limited engagement will close out the 2008 season for the famed venue.

During the two-night run, Morrison will perform in a somewhat unusual format. The first half of the show will cover his entire career with his current band. After an intermission, the Astral Weeks Live set will pair the living musicians from the original recording sessions with some stellar contemporary session musicians. (Both announced lineups are listed below.)

The concerts will be recorded live for the upcoming album “Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl” to be released on Morrison’s new label, Listen to the Lion Records. The set is scheduled for an LP/vinyl release in time for Christmas, followed by a CD release in January. All of the songs on “Astal Weeks,” except for “Beside You” and “Slim Slow Slider,” have been played in concerts during 2008 by Morrison.

“This is a welcomed opportunity for me to perform these songs the way I originally intended them to be,” said Morrison in a statement on his Web site. “It’s about the world of creation and of the imagination: That is what a song is, a little movie with melodies and music built around it, poetry in moving pictures in the mind.”

The singer-songwriter continued, “In the ’60s and ’70s the record companies did not support the music so I never got to take these songs on tour, and I certainly did not have the money to do it. These songs are as timeless and fresh right now as the day they were written and I am happy about taking them to the Hollywood Bowl.”

“Astral Weeks” is ranked the No. 2 greatest album of all time on a list compiled by Mojo and No. 19 in Rolling Stone‘s 2003 list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Britain’s The Times placed the album at No. 3 in its all-time rankings.

Morrison said in previous statements that the album was “a little about Belfast, but it has never been about any person or thing as these works are channeled works of the imagination…the keyword being work…it was a lot of hard work.”

For the concerts, Morrison will be joined by a band that includes world-class musicians including band-leader and pianist Roger Kellaway (former band leader of Bobby Darin) and guitarist John Platania who has played with Morrison since 1970. Other members include guitarist Jay Berliner and bassist Richard Davis, who played with Morrison on the original “Astral Weeks” sessions 40 years ago. Peter Erskine will be standing in on the drums for the late Connie Kaye.

Set 1 Band

Van Morrison: guitar, saxophone, vocals
Roger Kellaway: piano
John Platania: lead guitar
David Hayes: bass
Paul Moran: organ, trumpet
Rick Schlosser: drums
Richard Buckley: flute, saxophones
Tony Fitzgibbon: violin, viola

Set 2 Band: Astral Weeks Live

Van Morrison: guitar, vocals
Roger Kellaway: piano
Jay Berliner: guitar *
Richard Davis: bass *
Peter Erskine: drums
Richard Buckley: flute
Paul Moran: organ, harpsichord
Tony Fitzgibbon: violin, viola

* original “Astral Weeks” band member